The NCAA volleyball tournament is returning to the Front Range.
During the press conference following the Rams’ win over Wyoming Wednesday, senior middle blocker Kelsey Snider said she didn’t think her time at Moby Arena was over, and she was right.
At Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Fort Collins Sunday night, all eyes were on the television as ESPNU announced Colorado State will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament next weekend at Moby Arena.
“I am extremely excited to be hosting the regional, I think this is great news for us, it is great news for our fans and it is a nice tribute to kind of season our team has had,” head coach Tom Hilbert said.
CSU finished the regular season 29-2 (17-1 Mountain West) with big wins against Arizona State and BYU in the beginning of the season, though it dropped one of two matches this season to No. 4 Wisconsin.
Without question having homecourt advantage will be pivotal to the Rams success in the NCAA Tournament and chances of advancing to the Sweet 16 in Minneapolis, though it will have to defeat rival Denver first, along with the winner of CU and Northern Colorado in the second round.
“It is also a testament to how good volleyball is in the state of Colorado because we have four Colorado teams in this regional, and they are all good,” Hilbert said. “I find this seed very interesting because Denver beat UNC easily yesterday, yet they are still apparently seeded lower than Northern Colorado.”
CSU swept both DU and UNC in the opening weeks of the 2014 season but have not faced CU-Boulder since 2010 when it swept the Buffs in Moby Arena.
Friday, 4:30p.m.: CU vs. Northern Colorado
Friday, 6:30p.m.: CSU vs. Denver
Saturday at 4:30p.m.: Winner of CU-UNC and CSU-Denver
“I think we would rather play a good first-round opponent aand I think that helps you as you move along through the tournament. Denver is a very,very fast-paced team and they have been on a good, really great streak in the last part of the season. I expect them to be very, very good and a challenge as any good Mountain West teams,” Hilbert said.
Heading to practice tomorrow, the Rams will be focusing on their defense and being able to block a very fast Denver offense, similar to what the Rams will face if they continues further into the tournament. With four days of practice before the biggest weekend of the season for CSU, every minute counts.
“We’ve got to take care of business, we need to beat a very good Denver team in order to advance to the next match. I think we will sell a lot of tickets, I think just the prospect of playing CU at home is going to make Moby Arena very excited,” Hilbert said. “We need to get back to the practice gym tomorrow and get ready for a great NCAA Tournament. I am excited to be hosting and I am honored.”
“Our crowd is awesome … I just can’t even explain it I am so excited,” a gushing Snider added after the announcement.
Student tickets will go on sale Monday at 8 a.m. for $5, while general admission tickets will go on sale Tuesday for $15 and all single-game tickets will be available one hour prior to the game for $15 as well. Ram Club members and season-ticket holders will receive an email Sunday night with an early ticket code to purchase tickets, as all leftover reserved tickets can be purchased for $20.
Collegian Sports Reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.